Archive

Archive for December, 2011

Albums of the Year: 2011

December 27th, 2011 6 comments

With Christmas out of the way, and the year almost over, it’s time I finally get around to compiling my Top 20 albums of the year of 2011 (in fact, there are 21 entries). Each album is represented on the mix with a song, and each entry has a link to the artist’s homepage or other outlet where the album can be ordered from. Because this list is intended not only to show off my impeccable taste, but also to showcase artists, all data files in the mix have been downscaled to 128kbps. This is not really a chart, but we’ll be counting down from roughly 20th to first. Other than the top 5, all rankings have a margin of error of a couple of places. The playlist of the mix counts up, from #1 to #21.

21. Michael Kiwanuka – Tell Me A Tale EP
This is supposed to be a Top 20 of albums, but I am breaking a rule by making it 21 and including this three-track EP. If Michael Kiwanuka’s debut, due for 2012, includes just three tracks as good as those on this EP, it will be a contender for next year’s list. The Ugandan-born, British-based  singer recalls the sounds of mid-’70s soul, with flutes, strings and rhythm guitar, and lovely melodies. And still, the sound is contemporary, with a jazz saxophone getting all funky on lead track Tell Me A Tale. Homepage
Michael Kiwanuka – I Need Your Company

20. Maria Taylor – Overlook
It is been a while since Taylor’s great debut albums, 11:11 and Lynn Teeter Flower, both of which were consistently excellent. Overlook is more like an old friend coming to visit; at first, the conversation is animated and a little exciting, then you settle down on the couch with a bottle of wine and just enjoy each other’s company, even if the level of communication is more comfortable than inspiring. In this way, Maria Taylor is a most welcome visitor. HOMEPAGE
Maria Taylor – Happenstance

19. Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion – Bright Examples
Arlo’s daughter (and therefore Woody’s granddaughter) and her husband channel Fleetwood Mac, The Magic Numbers and a dash of Emmylou Harris on their second country-folk album. This is by no means edgy stuff, but it’s pretty much perfect over a cup of strongly brewed coffee on a Sunday morning. And sometimes that all we can ask of music. BUY ALBUM
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion – Seven Sisters

18. Säkert! – På Engelska
Or otherwise known as Hello Saferide. It’s a bit confusing: Swedish singer Annika Norlin is otherwise better known by the moniker Hello Saferide, by which she became something of an indie darling a few years ago. In 2007 and again in 2010 she recorded Swedish-language albums as Säkert! (which apparently is Swedish for “yeah, right”), selected tracks of which she then re-recorded in English, maintaining the Säkert! name. And just to mess with us, and rob the album of any commercial prospect, the album’s title is rendered in Swedish. It has no tracks as instantly catchy as The Quiz or High School Stalker, but this is an engaging set, with Norlin’s personality and appealingly idiosyncratic lyrics the real star. HOMEPAGE
Säkert!  – The Lakes We Skate On

17. Lori McKenna – Lorraine
Lori McKenna is better known as a songwriter for the likes of Alison Krauss, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Faith Hill than she is as a performer. That’s a shame, because her performance is preferable to the corporate gloss of a LeeAnne Rimes. The strength here reside in McKenna’s emotional honesty as she introspects on her life and relationships (touchingly also with her late mother, also named Lorraine). BUY ALBUM
Lori McKenna – You Get A Love Song

16. Ralph Stanley – A Mother’s Prayer
Some 64 years after making his first record, bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley releases an album of Christian music that will make even the most hardened atheists wish, at least momentarily, that they had religion. His once smooth but now worn octogenarian voice might betray Stanley’s age, but he has the confidence to do four of the present 14 tracks a cappella style, including a rousing version of Blind Willie Johnson’s ‘John The Revelator’. HOMEPAGE
Ralph Stanley – I’ll Not Be Afraid

15. OK Sweetheart – Home
One of two self-released albums in this lot, which suggests that there is much talent that is going unrecognised. Thank goodness for the Internet, through which fans can spread the word. So I got to hear of OK Sweetheart – the moniker singer Erin Austin operates under – and this very lovely debut album, which calls to mind Regina Spektor in a calm mood. HOMEPAGE
OK Sweetheart – We’ve Got Love

14. Ron Sexsmith – Long Player Late Bloomer
After a dozen beautifully crafted albums, the acclaim awarded by the likes of Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Michael Bublé (hey, you would take it), and a memorable surname, the Canadian singer still is no superstar. Long Player Late Bloomer won’t change the injustice, even if it is another quite excellent album. Here Sexsmith scores his mostly downbeat lyrics with upbeat guitar, keyboard and strings, all gorgeously arranged. Sexsmith has an extraordinary warm sound (and, indeed, warm voice), which provides for a most welcome antidote to the autotuned stylings of current mainstream pop. BUY ALBUM (incl. special editions)
Ron Sexsmith – Michael And His Dad

13. Death Cab For Cutie – Codes And Keys
There’s nothing new here; Death Cab pretty much do what they’ve been doing since 2003’s excellent Transatlanticism (and Underneath The Sycamore sounds to me a bit like that album’s New Year), with the layered, textured arrangements and polished production which form little indie-pop symphonies. And like that album, the best track comes right at the end: Stay Young, Go Dancing.  Like the band’s previous three albums, Codes And Keys is best heard through headphones while tuning out, letting the texture of the sounds and Gibbard’s gentle singing cascade over the listener. HOMEPAGE
Death Cab For Cutie – Stay Young, Go Dancing

12. Buddy Miller – The Majestic Silver Strings
It takes two minutes and 10 seconds before the gentle opener Cattle Call launches any vocals. From then, things pick up, with a succession of guest vocalists, including Emmylou Harris, Patti Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Lee Ann Womack, and Miller’s wife Julie. Even Marc Ribot, like Buddy Miller a great session guitarist, chips in on a couple of numbers. And that’s how The Majestic Silver Strings sounds: a great studio romp with friends popping in and out to sing new material and lots of covers of lesser-known songs by country greats such as Lefty Frizzell and George Jones. It’s great fun and musically pleasing, even when the concept fails (cf. Roger Miller’s Dang Me!). And for an album featuring four highly rated session guitarists — Bill Frissell and Greg Leisz also feature – there is a commendable absence of guitar solo wankery. One for those who enjoy the A History of Country series. BUY ALBUM
Buddy Miller feat Julie Miller – God’s Wing’ed Horse

11. The Pierces – Thirteen Tales Of Love And Revenge
You have to love an indie-pop band that can sound vaguely like TLC, as The Pierces did on 2007’s Lights On, and who can riff on the Pet Shop Boys as they did on Boring (“Menage a trois? Boring”), from the same album. On their fourth album they play it a bit more straight – and more commercially viable. The sensibility is here is catchy indie-pop: imagine The Cardigans passing through Nashville (with a nod to The Mamas and the Papas, especially on Kissing You Goodbye). It’s unfailingly engaging. I love the cover design which gives the appearance of a well-worn LP sleeve. HOMEPAGE
The Pierces – Glorious

10. Josh T. Pearson – Last Of The Country Gentlemen
A man of gloomy outlook and plaintive voice, Josh T. Pearson is not likely to cheer you up. There is so much sadness and anger here, Last Of The Country Gentlemen might well be Pearson’s primal whisper. With four of the seven melancholy songs longer than ten minutes, this is an intimidating album. But becoming immersed in it, the genius of this exceptionally powerful set will reveal itself. BUY ALBUM
Josh T. Pearson – Thou Art Loosed

9. Tom Rhodes – Better Son
Screw old the system of musicians being at the arbitrary mercy of record companies; Tom Rhodes sells his self-financed albums on the Internet and at live gigs. His sophomore album of alt.country should by rights sell enough to pay the singer’s bills and more. In sound and in merit, it recalls one of the best albums of 2010, Ryan Bingham’s Junky Star. Bourbon-voiced Rhodes must have had confidence in his set of songs: he keeps the album’s best track, the title number, for the finale.  BUY ALBUM
Tom Rhodes – Better Son

8. Alison Krauss and Union Station – Paper Airplane
It took Alison Krauss seven years to record a new album that didn’t feature grizzled old Robert Plant, and the result feels like a long, warm hug by somebody who really loves you — and you might need that hug after Dan Tyminski’s angry vocals on Dust Bowl Children. Crystal-voiced Krauss and her band of maestros on mandolin, fiddle and banjo offer little that is new, but with such great material performed so beautifully rendered, who needs innovation? HOMEPAGE
Alison Krauss & Union Station – My Opening Farewell

7. Over The Rhine – The Long Surrender
Understated, warm and gorgeously slow-burning, Over The Rhine’s The Long Surrender gets under the listener’s skin with its raw, introspective lyrics delivered by Karen Bergquist in her torchsong-folk voice (from which the overhyped and overrated Adele could learn) to a sensitive but textured production by Joe Henry. The production was funded by fans and supporters of the Cincinnatti group, and alt-country legend Lucinda Williams pops in for two songs. HOMEPAGE
Over The Rhine – Sharpest Blade

6. Amos Lee – The Mission Bell
It’s hard to pin a genre on Amos Lee, but on The Mission Bell he is emphatically in the alt-country camp. Produced by Calexico’s Joey Burns, The Mission Bell channels The Band, without really reaching their depth (as if many ever do), and then descends to the pedestrianism of Jack Johnson. It’s an uneven album, to be sure. But when it works, it is quite impressive. The songs deal with songs of discovery and redemption, and Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson (who provides an elementary maths lesson) drop in for duets. BUY ALBUM
Amos Lee – El Camino

5. Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore
Nicole Atkins’ excellent 2007 album Neptune City drew from eclectic influences; on Mondo Amore she cast her net even wider and, counter-intuitively, arrives at a more coherent sound. The result is an energising, self-produced album (by force, her former label unaccountably dropped this wonderful talent) which details, with no exaggerated bitterness, her break-up with a boyfriend. On the lovely Hotel Plaster (which might have been a Richard Hawley song), Atkins sings: My pain could learn to play the violin, but it might not bring you back. But at least we’d have a pretty soundtrack.” And that’s just what we got. HOMEPAGE
Nicole Atkins – Cry Cry Cry

4. Zahara – Loliwe
A surprise hit, this is South Africa’s top-selling album of the year. In a musical scene in which her best shot at stardom was to do dance music of vocal jazz, 24-year-old Bulelwa Mkutukana took her acoustic guitar to create a bi-lingual album that references the great South African female singers of past and present – legends such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Busi Mhlongo, Letta  Mbulu and, especially, Brenda Fassie, but also contemporaries such as Judith Sephuma and Simphiwe Dana. And yet she manages to sound fresh and entirely relevant. BUY ALBUM
Zahara – Ndize

3. Wilco – The Whole Love
Alas, poor Wilco, you shall never satisfy all your fans. Nobody can say they hate The Whole Love, but lots of people pronounced themselves a little disappointed. These are the hazards of being masters at different styles. On The Whole Love, Wilco offer a duo of opening tracks that should satisfy the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot fans of distorted sounds, and then go on to keep Sky Blue Sky devotees like me happy (and I firmly believe that one day Sky Blue Sky will be regarded as an all-time classic rock album). The sequencing is risky: the first half is not easy to navigate; it takes repeated listens to really appreciate them. The superb Born Alone rings in a series of instantly catchy numbers – but by then the casual listener might have switched off already. BUY ALBUM
Wilco – Born Alone

2. Brandi Carlile – Live At Benaroya Hall
Brandi Carlile should be a massive star, but if she was, she probably would have to make compromises. So it’s just as well that she’s big enough to get Elton John duetting with her on an album, to appear on Austin City Limits and to record a live album with orchestra, but retaining some artistic control. Not having to compromise means having your backing singers perform “the creepiest and most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard” on your live album, and it means that you can close the set with a couple of cover versions. Of those, bloody Hallelujah is so overworked, I can’t work up interest in Carlile’s version; Alphaville’s Forever Young is a surprising choice; nicely executed, but hardly going out on a high note – the set would have climaxed well with the final original, Pride And Joy. The original songs are performed with power where appropriate and restraint when necessary, with barely a dud note. The orchestra adds little to most songs, and on some tracks keeps quiet altogether, but gets going on the two stompers, The Story and – the album’s revelation – Dreams. HOMEPAGE
Brandi Carlile – Dreams

1. Gillian Welch – The Harrow and The Harvest
Gillian Welch’s first album in eight years is mesmerising. It draws the listener into its world of mystery and melancholy, modern Americana and old Appalachian sounds. Welch’s clear and expressive voice, supported by collaborator Dave Rawlings’ close harmonies, glides effortlessly over the lovely sparse arrangements, which pay a respectful tribute to country’s rich legacy. This album is a monument to the majesty of restraint and simplicity. BUY ALBUM
Gillian Welch – Tennessee
Gillian Welch – Hard Times
*     *     *

DOWNLOAD
(Mirror)

 .

Previous Albums of the Year

Any Major Acoustic Christmas

December 20th, 2011 12 comments

The trouble with acoustic covers of popular songs is that some earnest singer armed with a guitar will slow down Jingle Bells and whisper the lyrics as if they have a deep meaning. I have no principles that compel me to disallow the notion of whispering songstresses, but on this Christmas mix I’ve tried to keep them to a respectful minimum. Still, we have the doses of yuletide angst which the acoustic genre prescribes to go with the upbeat welcome of the merry season.

Don’t be alarmed by the inclusion of three tracks called Christmas Song: they are all different songs.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R (which, given the opening track, is an even more ironic than sun on a Christmas Day) and comes with home-strummed covers. There is even an alternate front cover, if you don’t like seasonal ornaments! PW in comments.

And with that, I wish you a happy, merry, peaceful, blessed, partyful, present-rich, non-hungover and generally groovy Christmas.

TRACKLISTING
1. Hello Saferide – iPod X Mas (2006)
2. Slow Club – Christmas TV (2009)
3. Crash Test Dummies – We Three Kings (2002)
4. Brandi Carlile – The Heartache Can Wait (2007)
5. Rosie Thomas – Alone At Christmas (2008)
6. Natalie Merchant – Children Go Where I Send Thee (1997)
7. Alison Krauss – Only You Can Bring Me Cheer (Gentleman’s Lady) (2003)
8. Tift Merritt – I’ll Be Home For Christmas (2003)
9. James Taylor – River (2006)
10. Mindy Smith & Thad Cockrell – I Know The Reason (2008)
11. The Weepies – All That I Want (2003)
12. She & Him – Christmas Wish (2011)
13. Denison Wittmer – A Christmas Song (2002)
14. Bright Eyes – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (2002)
15. Catherine Feeny – Christmas Song (2008)
16. Nicole Atkins – Blue Christmas (2008)
17. Sufjan Stevens – Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! (2005)
18. Calexico – Gift X-Change (2000)
19. Felice Brothers – Christmas Song (2007)
20. Gramercy Arms & Mascot – This Christmastime (2005)
21. Pierce Pettis – In The Bleak Midwinter (1997)
22. Alexi Murdoch – Silent Night (2000)

GET IT! (PW in comments)

.

More Christmas mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1

December 15th, 2011 3 comments

Seeing as the History of Country series is proving so popular, let us put on a Santa-red Stetson and have a country Christmas. This lot is old-skool: Ernest Tubb riffs (badly) on his 1941 honky tonk classic, Loretta Lynn socks it to it disagreeable Santa, while Brenda Lee aims to lassoo him, yee-ha. George Jones goes X-Mas twisting, and Buck Jones provides some serious pathos. And if you had to choose one man to sing Little Drummer Boy, it would have to be Johnny Cash, right? Hey, even horrid old Jingle bloody Bells sounds good here!

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and it comes with home-pardnered front and back covers. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Loretta Lynn – To Heck With Ole Santa Claus
2. Skeeter Davis – Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town
3. George Jones – My Mom And Santa Claus
4. Jim Reeves – An Old Christmas Carol
5. Marty Robbins – One Of Your (In Every Size)
6. Buck Owens – All I Want For Christmas Is My Daddy
7. Red Simpson – Truckin’ Trees For Christmas
8. The Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You
9. The Louvin Brothers – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
10. The Statler Brothers – Mary’s Sweet Smile
11. Johnny Cash – The Little Drummer Boy
12. Merle Haggard – Santa Claus And Popcorn
13. Emmylou Harris – Christmas Time’s A-Coming
14. John Prine – Christmas In Prison
15. Willie Nelson – Pretty Paper
16. Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas
17. Crystal Gayle – Hallelujah
18. Lynn Anderson – Joy The World
19. Charley Pride – Santa and the Kids
20. Brenda Lee – I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus
21. The Maddox Brothers & Rose – Jingle Bells
22. Johnny Horton – They Shined Up Rudolph’s Nose
23. Faron Young – I’m Gonna Tell Santa On You
24. Hank Snow – Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
25. Ernest Tubb – I’ll Be Walkin’ The Floor This Christmas
26. Chet Atkins – Jolly Old St Nicholas
27. Bob Atcher and the Dinning Sisters – Christmas Island
28. Dottie West – Blue Christmas
29. Roger Miller – Old Toy Trains
30. Eddy Arnold – I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
31. Waylon Jennings – Away In A Manger

GET IT!

More Christmas mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Song Swarm: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Intros Quiz – 1986 edition

December 12th, 2011 1 comment

We continue on our five-yearly cycle of intros quizzes, revisiting 25 years ago: 1986. It was the year the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, US bombing of Tripoli and the Challenger space shuttle explosion. In South Africa the apartheid regime declared a state of emergency, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme was assassinated, Mozambican prrsident Samota Machel died in a plane crash above South Africa, and in the Philippines the tyrant Fernando Marcos was deposed. Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Peace Prize and the first computer virus, named Brain, starts to spread.

As always, twenty intros to hit songs from that year of 5-7 seconds in length. All were single releases and/or hits that year. The answers will be posted in the comments section by Thursday (so please don’t post your answers). If the pesky number 15 bugs you, go to the Contact Me tab above to request the answers, or  better, message me on Facebook. If you’re not my FB friend, click here.

Intros Quiz – 1986 edition

More Intros Quizzes

Categories: Intros Quiz Tags:

Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3

December 8th, 2011 10 comments

Last year we had two compilations of classic Christmas soul (plus one featuring newer stuff); here is a third volume. It kicks off with a spoken intro by The Jackson 5. Jermaine is crying – and the manner in which that is established always makes my smile – and he needs yuletide comforting. Wonderful stuff.

Towards the middle we get socially conscious. Stevie Wonder, still just 17 years old, hopes for no hunger and no tears, but for peace and equality of man. Then the Harlem Children’s Choir, who sound rather older than children, provides some seasonal black consciousness from the ghetto, with an inevitable riff on notions of white Christmas.

The Shurfine Singers borrow a concept from Simon & Garfunkel as they sing Silent Night as a news broadcast runs in the background, speaking of war, protest and strife. As on the Simon & Garfunkel track, the news (now at 11pm, not at 7) becomes increasingly louder to drown out the hymn of peace. Unlike the S&G version, the news cast ends with an editorialising Christmas wish.

This is followed by two examples of a genre that was fairly popular at one point: the Vietnam Christmas song. We previously encountered Change Of Pace on Covered With Soul Vol 5 covering Freda Payne’s Bring The Boys Home as the more alliterative Bring My Buddies Back; here they send a letter from Vietnam, explaining that they won’t be home this Christmas. Johnny & Jon’s Christmas In Vietnam is representative of the anger African Americans felt at the disproportionate number of young black man drafted for the war. So, where in a country song the lament of an unhappy Christmas because “there’s Vietcong all around me” might provoke defiant flag waving, this sombre Southern Soul number seethes with resigned anger.

Things soon become Christmassy again, and we come across a pre-fame Luther Vandross with his band Luther, who perform a song he wrote (two years earlier, he had co-written David Bowie’s Fascination). Vandross clearly didn’t like the two Luther LPs; he later bought the rights to them and prevented their re-release.

James Brown closes the set with the second song called Soul Christmas; needless to say, it’s not the same song as Count Sidney’s. I rather enjoy JB thanking and loving his fans (“people like you don’t grow on trees”) for their support, urging them to come to his next show. So it’s a bit ironic that the man should have died on Christmas Day…

This is the first of three Christmas sets I’ll post this year: the others will cover country music and the acoustic lot. All are timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and I’m making front and back covers for all.

TRACKLISTING
1. Jackson 5 – Christmas Won’t Be The Same This Year (1970)
2. Count Sidney and his Dukes – Soul Christmas (1967)
3. Clarence Carter – Back Door Santa (1968)
4. Otis Redding & Carla Thomas – New Year’s Resolution (1967)
5. Mack Rice – Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ (1972)
6. Brook Benton – You’re All I Want For Christmas (1963)
7. George Grant and the Castelles – At Christmas Time (1960)
8. The Staple Singers – The Last Month Of The Year (1962)
9. Aretha Franklin – The Christmas Song (1964)
10. The Temptations – My Christmas Tree (1970)
11. Stevie Wonder – Someday At Christmas (1967)
12. Harlem Children’s Chorus – Black Christmas (1973)
13. The Shurfine Singers – Silent Night & The 11 O’Clock News (1968)
14. Change Of Pace – Hello Darling (1971)
15. Johnny & Jon – Christmas In Viet Nam (1965)
16. Margie Joseph – Christmas Gift (1976)
17. Bill Withers – The Gift Of Giving (1972)
18. Donnie Hathaway – This Christmas (1970)
19. Luther – May Christmas Bring You Happiness (1976)
20. Smokey Robinson – A Child Is Waiting (1970)
21. Linda Lewis – Winter Wonderland (1976)
22. The Impressions – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1976)
23. The Supremes – White Christmas (1965)
24. Booker T. & The MG’s – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1966)
25. James Brown – Soulful Christmas (1968)

GET IT! (updated link. PW in comments)
..
Any Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Smooth Christmas (2010)
Any Christmas In Black & White
More Christmas In Black & White
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
PLUS: Rudolph, a victim of prejudice

More Christmas Mixes
More Mixes

Categories: 60s soul, 70s Soul, X-Mas Tags:

In Memoriam – November 2011

December 5th, 2011 4 comments

Everybody knows that Ringo Starr left Rory Storm and The Hurricanes to replace Pete Best in The Beatles. This month, Ringo’s replacement in the Hurricanes passed on at the age of 67. As a bandleader, Keef Hartley later played at Woodstock. He died on November 27.

It is not very well known that boxing legend Joe Frazier, my favourite fighter of all time, was also a bit of a soul singer. Some of his stuff cashed in on his boxing background; the song featured here is a straight soul number, and it’s pretty good.

In July we lost song-writer Jerry Ragovoy; this month his sometime writing partner Jimmy Norman died. They wrote Time Is On My Side together.

A bit of spookiness happened on Wednesday: On my way to work, The Soul Children’s All Day Preaching (featured HERE ) came on the iPod, and later at work I played the quite amazing  I’ll Be The Other Woman (feature HERE). A couple of days later I learned that the leader of The Soul Children, J Blackfoot had died on the same day.

It is a pity that most readers of this blog won’t understand the lyrics of Franz-Josef Degenhardt‘s Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern, an indictment of what Germans call the Spiessergesellschaft – the squares. As a child, the protagonist from a “better home” likes to play with the working class children (the “Schmuddelkinder” of the title), but is then forced to abandon them. The kids tease him for that, and “for revenge he got rich”, and disciplines his own son for playing with the lower classes. But I’m doing the song injustice: in one passage Degenhardt uses words that actually sound as harsh and bitter as the protagonist feels. The leftist singer, incidentally, was a cousin of a conservative cardinal in the Catholic Church.

Finally, Andrea True‘s fascinating journey from porn-star to disco queen came to an end.


Reese Palmer, 73, member of doo wop group The Marquees (with Marvin Gaye), backing singer for Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Billy Stewart, on October 27
The Marquees – Wyatt Earp (1957)
Chuck Berry – Back In The USA (1959, as backing singer)

Beryl Davis, 87, British big band singer and actress, on October 28
Arthur Young And Hatchett’s Swingtette – How Am I To Know (1940, as vocalist)
Jane Russell, Connie Haines, Beryl Davis, and Della Russell – Do Lord (1954)

Liz Anderson, 81, country singer-songwriter and mother of Lynn Anderson, on October 31
Merle Haggard – (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (1964, as songwriter)

Christiane Legrand, 81, French jazz singer, on November 1
Les Double Six – Ruby (1964)
Christiane Legrand – Maldonne (1968)

Cory Smoot, 34, guitarist of heavy metal  group Gwar, on November 3
Gordon Beck, 75, British jazz pianist and composer, on November 6
The Gordon Beck Quartet – Monday, Monday (1968)

Joe Frazier, 67, World Heavyweight Champion and part-time soul singer, on November 7
Joe Frazier – If You Go, Stay Gone (1971)

Andrea True, 68, porn actress-cum-disco star, on November 7
Andrea True Connection – More More More (1976)

Heavy D (Dwight Arrington Myers), 44, Jamaican-born American rapper and actor, on November 8
Heavy D – Is It Good To You (1991)

Jimmy Norman, 74, soul and jazz musician and songwriter, on November 8
Irma Thomas – Time Is On My Side (1964, as lyricist)
Bill Wells, 84, bluegrass musician, on November 8

Andy Tielman, 75, Dutch Indo-rock pioneer, on November 10
Andy Tielman – If I Only Had Time (2006)

Doyle Bramhall, 62, blues drummer and singer-songwriter, on November 12
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Dirty Pool (1983, as drummer)

Dixie Fasnacht, 101, New Orleans jazz singer, clarinetist and Bourbon Stret club owner, on September 13
Lee Pockriss, 87, songwriter (Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Tracy), on September 14
Perry Como – Catch A Falling Star (1957)

Jackie Leven, 61, Scottish folk singer-songwriter, on November 14
Jackie Leven – Hotel Mini Bar (2010)

Franz-Josef Degenhardt, 79, German protest singer-songwriter, satirist and writer, on November 14
Franz-Josef Degenhardt – Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern (1965)

Laura Kennedy, bassist of punk-funk band Bush Tetras, on November 14
Bush Tetras – Too Many Creeps (1980)
Moogy Klingman, 61, keyboardist with prog-rock band Utopia, on November 15
Utopia – Set Me Free (1980, live)

Gary Garcia, 63, member of novelty duo Buckner & Garcia, on November 17
Buckner & Garcia – Pac-Man Fever (1982)

Paul Yandell, 76, country guitarist, on November 21

Paul Motian, 80, influential jazz drummer, on November 22
Bill Evans Trio – Autumn Leaves (1959)
Barry Llewellyn, 63, founding member of Jamaican ska/reggae group The Heptones, on November 23
The Heptones – Fattie Fattie (1966)

Ludwig Hirsch, 65, Austrian singer-songwriter, of suicide on November 24

Coco Robicheaux, 64, New Orleans blues musician, on November 25
Coco Robicheaux – Shake Down Here

Ross MacManus, 84, English musician and father of Elvis Costello, on November 25

Don DeVito, 72, producer of Bob Dylan in the mid- and late 1970s and record company exec, on November 25
Bob Dylan – Sara (1976, as producer)

Keef Hartley, 67, English blues drummer (with Toots Mayall a.o.) and bandleader, on November 27
Keef Hartley Band – Too Much Thinking (1969)

Thomas Roady, 62, drummer for Ricky Scaggs, James Brown, Art Garfunkel, Dixie Chicks, Lynyrd Synyrd a.o., on November 28
Vince Gill – What The Cowgirls Do (1994, as drummer)

Nelly Byl, 92, prolific Belgian songwriter, on November 30
The Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida (1980, as songwriter)

J. Blackfoot, 65, soul singer, on November 30
The Soul Children –  I Want To Be Loved (1972)
J. Blackfoot – Taxi (1983)

DOWNLOAD
(Mirror 1    Mirror 2)

* * *

Previous In Memoriams

Keep up to date with dead pop stars on Facebook